Going Against the Grain: It’s a Matter of Taste

I once had a friend who was so thin, so “man-orexic” that we used to joke he could choke on a single grain of rice.  Of course he was also very pious and we used to imagine that the Virgin Mary received apparitions from him.  That’s my “grain” connection.  Here now the prompt from The Daily Post.

Matters of Taste

When was the last time a movie, a book, or a television show left you cold despite all your friends (and/or all the critics) raving about it? What was it that made you go against the critical consensus?

Today at work I overheard two colleagues talking about their book club.  I don’t know when this became a thing.  Book club.  In fact, I have many friends who belong to a book club.  I can’t understand the appeal.  Other than the wine that I hear they serve I don’t think I could get into it.  But I politely interjected “Talking about a book club?”  I could tell that one of the participants in this chat wanted to shoot back “No, we just like throwing out titles of classic novels for fun.”  Thankfully he held his tongue.  Just then the other party to the original conversation did the unthinkable.  She invited me to join.  I thought for a moment.  “I’m sorry.  I can’t.  I’m functionally illiterate.”  And then I walked away.

This is guaranteed to leave anyone cold.

This is guaranteed to leave anyone cold.

The fact is that most book clubs (not to mention most contemporary books) leave me cold.  I am probably way off base but I feel like many people who belong to them are not truly in it for the reading and lively discussions.  First, I don’t need to discuss my feelings about a book to feel validated for having read it.  I mean, when you think about it, I don’t have a TV club to discuss the themes found in the subplots of episodes of Lost.  And you probably won’t find me sitting around a dining room table to discuss what I read on Drudge earlier.  I’ll probably discuss it but it won’t be in any formal setting.  Unless, of course, there’s wine involved.  Again, not judging, but I feel like most of the people I know who are in book clubs are in it for a number of reasons and many of them center around the fact that book clubs are popular at the moment.  Then there’s the whole socialization aspect.  People like to come together and enjoy each other’s company.  I suppose every shindig needs a reason for being; but a book being that reason seems odd to me.  The other reason I don’t like book clubs is that (other than today) I’ve never been invited.  That doesn’t bother me as much as the fact that the husbands of the women meeting in these clubs usually have similarly-timed meetings of their own (drinking parties, mostly) and I never get invited to them either.  I guess you have to know somebody.

So what book in particular leaves me cold?  It’s a sordid tale of woe and revenge, murder and mischief, sex, drugs, and smooth jazz.  Actually, that kind of book might be intriguing.  Oh wait, I mentioned that books are out.  Listen, the last tome I read was a book on airport terminal design.  It was called The Naked Airport.  Surprisingly there was more sex and drugs in those 500 pages than I was expecting.  Still I doubt anyone else would have found it as interesting as I did.  How about a TV show?  Again, I have very peculiar viewing habits and, having worked in television, I don’t watch it the same way most people do.  What about a movie?  Thinking…  Yeah, no…  I’m not a big fan of the movies either.  Perhaps I’m just too discriminating and never really pay much attention to what the crowd says I should like and so I don’t really care.  Let’s flip that around though.  There are movies that I LOVE that were panned by everyone including the pope.  The Scary Movie franchise comes to mind.  What can I say?  Sometimes I just like mindless comedy.

I guess I’ve just gone against the grain by not going against the grain at all.  Think about that.  I’ve got kiddos to put to bed.  Our book selection tonight?  It’s one that really leaves me cold.  The Tale of the Ice Princess.

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One response to “Going Against the Grain: It’s a Matter of Taste

  1. Lessons from my neighborhood book club experience: 1) It IS the wine,
    2) by the time we have dissected the book, I’m sorry I even read it, and 3)
    after the wine you learn ‘way more than you wanted to about the other people in the group. I don’t think I’m a book club person either. I thought it would be a good way to get to know my neighbors, but now I know too much about some of them. My kids say “TMI” (which I thought stood for Three Mile Island).

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